Winchester MP Steve Brine used a keynote speech to staff at the Royal Hampshire County Hospital to back plans for a possible future merger with Basingstoke.
Mr Brine was invited to address the final ‘Talking Point’ meeting of the year (on 17 December 2010) at which he thanked staff for their care during the recent arrival of his son, William, and spoke about proposals which would see the Winchester & Eastleigh Healthcare NHS Trust join forces with Basingstoke and North Hampshire to create a large new Foundation Trust in line with Government plans.
He told the meeting; “I am not starry eyed about merger. It is not a silver bullet but I believe it is an idea whose time has come and is right for the times in which we live. I ran to be the local MP on some very clear priorities and paramount among them was the desire to maintain a strong District General Hospital in Winchester with full-service A&E and Maternity at its heart. As I have said many times, I am not obsessed by what we call the organisation. I am only obsessed by the services available to the people I represent.
“I am also desperate to put an end to the short-termism, uncertainty and worry caused by the constant speculation that the end is nigh for Winchester. If merger with Basingstoke can get us to Foundation Status and put the services in Winchester on a secure long-term footing I will back them and I think so will the people I represent.
“It won’t be easy, I know from my previous business experience that merger is not without its challenges but I would urge everyone in Winchester to focus on the endgame. Believe me when I say, two organisations working together for the greater good, some might call it a coalition, is never without hiccup but I always whether it is the right thing to do and I think this makes sense for Winchester as much as Basingstoke.”
The MP also praised the Winchester Hospital team which he said had continued to drive up standards during 2009/10 by shortening waiting times, reducing infection rates and finding new ways of providing services in partnership with the local GP community and other neighbouring organisations. “It’s exactly what you should be doing and puts you spot on the curve when it comes to what’s coming out of Government right now”, he added.
After the meeting Mr Brine joined staff at the hospital for festive mince pies and then went onto visit the Screening Breast Unit in Florence Portal House. Mr Brine chairs an important all-party group of MPs in Parliament which leads the fight against breast cancer.
Pictured; Steve joins Trust Chairman Mike Gretton, and Acting Chief Executive Dr Chris Gordon
View the full text of Steve’s speech by opening the PDF below.
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